I've tried so many homemade pretzel recipes.
At first, I thought I'd go for a non-boiled version, since that's easier. If they still tasted like pretzels, then why bother with boiling them?
Well, the ones I've made that aren't boiled tasted pretty good but tasted a lot more like soft bread sticks than a soft pretzel. (And in my experience, boiling is such a simple step for the amazing texture and flavor it imparts to both pretzels and bagels, it's completely worth the extra pot to wash.)
I've also experimented with whole wheat soft pretzels. Using white whole wheat bread flour (made from hard white wheat berries in my grain mill) and adding some natural dough conditioners, the whole wheat pretzels were good, and had a very good texture... but lacked that really-good-just-not-really-healthy flavor of a white soft pretzel dipped in cheese. ;)
My conclusion? When I take the time to make homemade soft pretzels, I'm going to boil them and I'm going to use white bread flour. For something that's such a special treat, I'm not going to worry about making them super healthy!
The kids love playing with pretzel dough and making their own "baby pretzels". With my oversight, Yehoshua (7) is able to form, boil, and bake his own pretzels. Eliyahu (5) and Ruth (3) had my assistance for theirs, and Moshe (almost 2) ate his dough raw. ;)